I use a 3 slot Nova for all printing up to 16x12". There is a dedicated fiber model, but I have processed fiber without a problem in the standard unit. It tends to need about 2 litres per slot. The chemicals last for weeks, but developer level drops thru use. This is easily dealt with by topping up 100-200ml every few sessions. The unit footprint is less than a 16x12" tray. It stands just over 12" high. You can monitor development by lifting the print periodically during processing. I bought some clear plastic tube from a DIY store and cut it into 1 metre lengths. It fits over the drain taps and allows the chemicals to be emptied in seconds. The unit is heavy with the water jacket full, but can be moved much more easily without the chemicals. You would have to be careful if it remained on top of a washing machine which was operating as I suspect the vibration could damage the heating units. Having used one of these for about two years I have found it to be easy to use and very convenient. You could make a simple tray to help lifting it from a wooden plank with handles secured at either end. That would minimize distortion of the plastic casing during moves.
Jobo drums will not leak, unless you use a huge amount of chemistry, say more then 1000ml per run, simply because the chemicals are never as high as the pour in spout. I have yet to have seen a lid accidentally come of a Jobo tank...
Those cant be too expensive, on CL or the auction site...
I stopped taking the Unidrum cap off between solutions after the 4th DR session. Dah! Significantly quicker to pour fluids out the spout and not worry about retained fluids. Getting more adept with the Unidrum. Concerning lid security, no doubt Murphey's Law will eventually strike. He will sneak up on you when your rushing or not giving your full attention. The more expensive Jobo drum is the best answer to avoid that nasty spill.
- More paper waste without seeing the print develop. Took (3) tries before I got a keeper even after mapping out exposure with test strips.
- The developer weakens with each print. 100 ml of stock LPD mixed with 250 ml of water has a capacity of (2) 11x14s before factoral development is a must. Use fresh developer after the second print for consistency.
- Two more DR items to remove and store after a DR session; tank and roller
- The process is slower but in a light tight drum.
- The door opens when the print goes in the tank. More frequent air exchange (unvented DR).
- Using a water rinse less carry over vs single tray processing.....the prime reason for experimenting with a tank
- Fume reduction.
- Easier to drain chems using a tank vs 12x16 tray.
- The drum is easy to clean.
- Paper with limited safelight time before fogging benefits with drum processing.
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 02-15-2012 at 02:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Manual roller processor
I have been using a manual roller processor for printing in black and white (as well as some colour negative printing) for 15 years or more. This is a custom built polyethylene tray, around 24" x 22", similar to a large serving tray. This has an inert hard foam 3/4" thick base glued to the base. The tray and foam base is set in a larger shallow box made of 1/8" nylon sheet, to catch overflow of developer, fixer etc. The developer, stop and fix are stored in plastic squeeze bottles, similar to sauce bottles. To use, each solution (developer then stop then fixer) is 'rolled' over the previously exposed (emulsion up) photo paper (under safelight, of course) using a hand roller (looks like a paint roller). The print is washed briefly for a minute or two to remove the bulk of the fixer, then it is squeegied on both sides - the print by then has no excess water and can be view on the now clean tray for evaluation or further treatment. This can include selenium toning etc on the same tray. The advantages: 1/ Minimum processing solutions needed - for an 8"x!0" about 10ml of solution, 20 - 30ml for a 16"x20". 2/ One tray only is used, solving space problems in small darkrooms. 3/ Techniques such as solarisation (brief light exposure) can be carried out on the tray part way through development. My setup only takes up around 30"x30" - I can fit the processor on top of my front load washing machine in the laundry. I will try getting some pics of my setup.
Tony, I would like to see pictures. If I understand, you basically roll solutions onto the paper.
Concerning drum processing. It's not insignificant that papers like ADOX Fine Print Variotone Premium and ADOX MCP 310/312 are limited to 3 min under a safe-light at 1 meter. A drum can help protect the paper from fogging
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Update. I hope my experience is helpful for others with a space challenged situation who want to process 11x14s. I was searching for a tray alternative as my tray space is 24 in x 25 in.
I have a small, dry home DR and don't have room for (3) 11x14 inch trays. In the past I have single tray processed but don't feel that is the best solution. The last two days I used a Unidrum II with Uniroller. I develop my test strips in 5x7 trays and then use the drum for the 11x14.
I found it easier and more pleasant to load the drum under DR safe light, exit the DR and develop the print using the Uniroller placed on a counter top next to the kitchen sink. Using the drum I found myself dumping less solution volume. That resulted in less splash reducing general cleanup. Test strips are accomplished in 5x7 trays which reduced tray clean up.
This morning I got up at 5AM, got coffee and set up the DR. The previous day I made a work print and had ball park exposure and print control times. Two hours and some change later I pulled (or more correctly rolled) 3 11x14s prints from two different negatives. Prints were stage for toning. After toning two of the prints were good enough to hang.
In some ways the Unidrum slows you down, in other ways its a little faster. I water rinse between the acid stop bath and TF 4 fix (2 bath method) and rinse and dump 4 times before the print comes out of the drum. The drum is then filled to the top with water to ensure its clean for the next print. This rinse routine slows you down. I miss seeing the print come up and dislike waiting 5 or 6 min to see the print. But drum processing reduces print exposure to safe lights, reduces physical print handling and general clean up, and allows processing outside of the DR where it may be more pleasant. When it comes to making 11x14s I'm sticking with the Unidrum.
The Unidrum and Uniroller is cheap and simple next to a JOBO.
Unirollers are certainly cheaper than a JOBO, but I don't know I'd say simpler, and they're certainly not more efficient.